Tuesday 17th Marchsaint patricks day

Today is St Patrick’s Day: Patron Saint of Alcoholics! Anyone from anywhere seems to be able to celebrate this day and join in on the craic! No matter where you are in the world, pretty much every city has at least one Irish Bar. The invasion of the Shamrock and Guinness is everywhere!! Even here at Big Blue, we have not been able to avoid this invasion over the years with Greek (who is Irish but has a silly name) running our Higher Ground Bar and convincing us to do The Riverdance an Irish caili for the Save Koh Tao Festival and Mama G who has been a resident on Koh Tao for more years than anyone can remember and who is now the owner of Moov. We have to put up with fiddle playing and jigs and calls of ‘to be sure’ and most morning G can be heard shouting to the restaurant staff ‘where are her Lucky Charms’!!! G has turned her nice chilled out club into a Green Grotto for today’s celebrations, and I think everyone except Nick ‘Sid Sloth’ Bufton will be there as he is still recovering from his momentous 30th Birthday celebrations on Koh Samui, come to think of it has any one actually seen Sid? Or is he still clinging to a tree wearing a dress and wig on Samui?

Big Blue is not just the best dive school on Koh Tao where you should come to learn how to dive. It also has some of the islands best Divemasters. The Divemaster are responsible for the daily running of the dive trips, making sure the instructor have suitable sites for students, and basically making sure the place runs smoothly. Once they get out of the shop and get on the boats they come to life. Our Divemaster team have vast amounts of knowledge on these dive sites and if you are going fun dive you will have a fantastic time. With a combination of fun/ Geordie humour, seriousness, passion and nerdy knowledge you will not be disappointed with these guys! Headed up by our most senior and most hairy man ever to walk the planet Steven Develter , the self-proclaimed ‘best Divemaster on Koh Tao and the world’ and followed closely but Nick, Stephen and Carly and with the awesome help of Sunna, Linna, Angel and Jai whether its stingrays or shrimps or the tiniest nudibranch, these Divemaster will show you.

So if you are already certified and want to be shown an abundance of life that Koh Taos waters have to offer these are the guys you should do it with.

Read more...

 

 

Friday 13th Marchequator dive

You may sitting at your desk or stuck in traffic jam scrolling through the web for holiday options and be asking yourself what is so great about diving? well let me tell you just a few things..

1. About 71% of the Earth's surface is covered in water, and the oceans hold about 96.5 of all Earth's water, not to mention lakes and rivers.

2. A study published by PLoS Biology, says a staggering 91% of the species in the seas have yet to be discovered, described and catalogued.

3. Once underwater, you’ll get to meet a dazzling array of fish and marine mammals. Encountering the bigger fish is certainly my favourite part of scuba diving, but you will not believe your eyes when you will discover the amazing biodiversity present in our oceans. Seeing marine creatures such at very close range, following them around and watching them eat and play while you gently swim past, is a unique experience that cannot be replicated in any aquarium.

4. By exploring the seas, you can actually protect wildlife! By choosing to see sharks, sea turtles, barracudas, and other sea creatures in their natural environment you are actively discouraging keeping wildlife in captivity.

5. The underwater world is very peaceful and quiet. Aside from your own breathing, you cannot hear a sound. It is such a great place where you can relax and forget about the ‘real world’ and leave your worries behind on the shore. I love the fact that you can empty your mind and just let yourself be amazed.

6. Scuba diving is like any other hobby: it gives you the chance to meet new people. So even if your friends or family don’t feel up for it, you can always try it out on your own. The lessons are usually for groups of four or five people that have exactly the same doubts and fears that you have. Don’t be afraid of putting yourself out there! After the lesson, you will probably go for drinks and talk about what happened underwater – a great way to end the session and make it even more memorable.

So what are you waiting for? Here at Big Blue we start Open Water courses every day and it only takes 4 days for you to get you full certification which will then allow you to dive all over the world wherever the is water! And as you have seen there is a lot of it, and whats more you get to do it on a beautiful island in the gulf of Thailand with some pretty amazing and experienced instructors. But be warned you may never want to leave once you see what is below the surface, just ask any of us who work here… a 2 week holiday for us turned in a career at the best dive school on Koh Tao!!

 

 

 

Read more...

8th March 2015

A few very lucky instructors and dive masters has just left to go on a liveaboard in Sipidan which was formed over thousands of years as living corals grew on top of an extinct volcano in Malaysia. If they are lucky enough (which we blatantly hope they are not) they have the chance of seeing white tip, black tip, thresher sharks and even scalloped hammerheads, more varieties of rays to shake a pointy stick and the odd turtle. This region is famous for its strong current so is not suitable for everyone. Jealous? Us? No, not at all! We have our Whalesharks to play with.

Last night saw another Divemaster Challenge in the theme of Oktoberfest! There were dirndls and lederhosen, thigh slapping, beer drinking antics all night to celebrate Hannah and Albert’s graduation. The Divemaster Challenge is technically not part of the course. It is an added extra that the trainees can choose not to do? So the embarrassment is all down to them and we give them a night to remember, or at least remember bits of it.

The island is about to have a mass invasion of old Big Blue family members as we prepare for 2 weddings in the space of a week. Emily and Craig are two instructors who met at Big Blue and we also have Hannah and Stephen, Hannah was a dive master here and Stephen was our local one man band, he could be found singing and playing his guitar at various venues around KohTao. It will be the first time many of the guests have seen our new resort and with returning ex-staff members it will be a week or 2 of antics! And where better to have a wedding than on the small tropical island of Koh Tao where the magic of the 10 metre club happened all those years ago..

 

Read more...

 

4th March 2015again

Our full day trippers to Sail Rock were treated to not one but 2 whalesharks yesterday. The baby whalesharks was only around 3 metres, but hung around for everyone to see and snorkel with. Congratulations you lucky advanced students and fundivers, even some DMTs had their whaleshark cherry popped! This is the 2nd day a whalesharks has been seen around Koh Tao. And this morning a spotted eagle ray was seen at Chumphon Pinnacle. With reports of people seeing sharks at Southwest ( or it was just a big cobia and their mask was foggy!) its turning into a great start at our new resort.

Koh Tao has 5 Thai Navy ships moored up on Sairee right now. These ships are similar to the HTMS Sattakut that was sunk back in 2011 to make an artificial reef and playground students doing wreck courses. The Thai Navy are here for their cadet training, whispers are going around about seeing if we could sink another one to add to the Sattakut. I think the guns and torpedoes on these ships might be a good deterrent. They are very impressive looking vessels and look spectacular lit up at night. I wonder if there are any submarines out there waiting to creep up on us during our dives!

 

Read more...

 

1st March 2015bb1 closed

A very BIG thank you has to go to everyone who was at our farewell party the other night. It was definitely a night to remember, well to be honest not many of us can remember any of it but the pictures kind of do!! With half price drinks and drinking till the bar was dry, I think we gave our old resort the send-off it deserved. (no diving the next day obviously)

If you are thinking about coming over to learning to dive or you are already certified and would like to come diving with us, please be aware that it is full moon on the 5th and the islands accommodation fills up very quickly. So be sure to get here early. If there is no accommodation at Big Blue we can still help you find somewhere to stay while you are here.

Funny story in the news about a diver in Vancouver that has her face hugged by a giant pacific octopus. Natasha Dickinson was doing research with her diving partner, Jackie Hildering, off the coast of Port Hardy, B.C., when the pair got up close and personal with a giant Pacific octopus. Hildering documented the encounter on her blog, The Marine Detective, in the hopes of educating people about the often misunderstood predator.
“So what to do when you find a giant Pacific octopus on your dive buddy’s head? Observe, marvel, take some photos, share and maybe it can help dispel some of the mythology and vilification about these fabulous marine neighbours,” Hildering wrote.

It’s not everyday you get an underwater cuddle from a marine animal!

 

Read more...

 

27th February 2015dmt night dive

The Divemaster mentors took the new Trainees, all 40 of them on an epic night dive the other night, they went to Shark Island where nobody else on Koh Tao would be diving, and had the site all to themselves and the conditions were perfect. This group of Divemaster trainees are working through a new teaching format which has been a great success. With the entire classroom based work and exams completed, they can now concentrate on developing their water based skills. As well as night dive workshops they have done Buoyancy and a Search and Recovery workshop. With all the theory understood they are ready sink their teeth into assisting instructors and working with the Divemasters in leading certified divers. Really good job guys Well Done.

This week has seen the first and last of many things, first dive trips departing from our new resort, the last ever DMT meeting at the old resort. First courses being taught in Chaba, and tonight will be our last drinks in the Big Blue Bar previously known to many as Deck Bar, Blue Bar and Higher Ground to name a few. The Farewell party is tonight at Higher Ground. There may be a few tears!

The full day trip guys went off at the crack of someone called dawn to enjoy the delights of Sail Rock, it has been a long time coming this year but the visibility is now up to 20-25 metres – nice! Lots of fish and a few GoPros found on the bottom too! Only thing missing on this trip was a Whaleshark! So its fingers crossed time that these big beauties start making the rounds past Koh Tao

 

Read more...

 

14th February 2015dolphins

Last night we held a Charity Valentine Auction in which participants from Big Blue, Rocktopus and Pheonix divers, sold themselves off to the highest bidder. From the start of the night it was clear it would be an adult only night and small children were banished off to bed. We raised a massive 38,000 baht which will be split between 2 charities that are close to all our hearts. Firstly the Koh Tao Animal Clinic who provide and unending amount of support and love to all the island animals and pets and also to Sea Shepherd Cove Guardians who are actively promoting and preventing the brutality of killing poor dolphins and whales in Taiji Bay, Japan. Yesterday was World Love for Dolphins Day. Members of staff were sold, abused, stripped and basically given no choice in what they were told to do as it was for such good causes. The night was incredible and we thank all of you for taking part and apologise to people who were out beaten in the auction war, and to anyone we may have blinded by the sight of certain instructors undress- all for charity!

So where are you? Sitting in an office cubicle staring dreamily at our pictures or you are deciding where to go next on your holiday, or maybe you are in Asia and trying to decide where to go next. Thailand should be high up there on your list. Not only is the weather fantastic, we have great food, great Thai boxing, and they love Mr Bean! But of course the diving here is great. Koh Tao is the perfect place to do your initial certification. Gaining your Open Water certificate is a great achievement and one of our passions as instructors is seeing you graduate and see our passion infect you. Speak to most of our instructors and divemasters and they will tell you how they came here for a 2 week holiday and just never left. If you want to do some more experienced diving we also have Big Blue Khao Lak which offer liveaboard and day trips out to the Similan and Surin Islands. Or we have our Technical diving team that can take you beyond the limits of recreational diving, and introduce you to deeper and more equipment intensive diving. On the other hand you may not want to dive with all the bulky equipment so we also have Freediving here. Basically if it has anything to do with water we can do it! So what are you waiting for, book that ticket and head over to see us. But warn your boss and family as you may not want to return!

 

Read more...

 

10th February 2015bb2arieal

As you may have seen on our facebook page a few days ago, it is official; we are preparing to move to our new resort which isn’t really new as it has been called Big Blue 2 for a few years already. We are building a new equipment room, new classrooms and offices and more accommodation and come the 1st March we will be down there permanently. Many of you who have done courses with us in the last few years will already know the location with our swimming pool for courses. Same faces, same diving just a new (ish) location which is only a 4 minute walk from Big Blue 1 on Sairee Beach where we can still enjoy our sunset beers when all the diving is done.

So many people have been through Big Blue Diving over the 21 years, you as our most valuable people our guests and students, but also as DMTs, as Divemasters and Instructors, our dogs (Ugly and BBD aka The General aka Big Black Dog aka Bebo, Sausage, Panda, MooMoo, and Uri), not to mention all our restaurant staff, boat staff and Captains. Big Blue is and always will be a special place to many of us, having made possibly some of the most amazing friends ever! That being said it is the people not just the place and apart from the location changing these friendships and memories are what brings us back year, after year, after year, yes it will be a sad time for many of us who have worked at Big Blue 1 whether it is for only a year or 10 years, we all have some very fond memories of working and playing at this resort. That is why we are inviting you all to our Farewell Bash on Friday 27th February at The Higher Ground Bar. This is open to everyone, so if you are trying to decide where to do your diving course, or if you are already a certified diver and you want to come fun diving, come and do it will us, this is a very exciting time for us and we would love it if you could be with us. #realdiving

Side mount course have been really kicking off the last few weeks and incorporating them with wreck Specialties our Techies have been busy. If you are interested in doing something a little different while you are over here this is an option. Instead of having the tank strapped to your back you have one mounted under each are, giving you better buoyancy in the water and with 2 tanks you can have much longer dives. If you’re interested contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

Read more...

31st January 2015   

Last October Big Blue Diving became a Shark Guardian Dive Centre which means that one of the wonderful Directors from Shark Guardian Brendan Sing came over to give everyone at Big Blue a lecture on the importance of sharks in our oceans and to inform people just what Shark Guardians are all about. This time around the lecture was based around Whalesharks and how to identify them using pictures between the pectoral fin and the dorsal fin. This data then goes into a database and we can locate where the individual whalesharks travel to. Very cool indeed. Thank you Brendan for coming over and joining us. www.sharkguardian.org

I don’t think there are many dive centres in the world that have family members working together but at Big Blue for 3 months only we have a brother and sister team working. Sonia has been at Big Blue for around 8 years and when her brother Graeme was introduced to diving in the ocean and not cold quarries for the first time in 2008 he was addicted to the diving in Thailand just as much as the rest of us. So now every year he comes over from the UK to dive and work, but is the first time they have worked alongside each other!

Some more instructors for you

Tim Morrish

Could have been a professional BMX rider but he wasn’t, cos he couldn’t, so he didn’t, hence the diving! Another extremely experienced Instructor having worked all over the world for the best part of the last 10 years & has worked at 10 different Dive centres & resorts & actually reckons Big Blue is the best Dive centre or Resort he’s ever come across. Crikey imagine what those other shitholes must have looked like! An SSI & PADI Instructor Tim is another Instructor who started life on Koh Tao at a different centre then defected to join us at Big Blue.

Steven (Steve-o) Taylor

Stepped into the world of Scuba Diving a little later than most of us but has taken to it like a rather large duck to water. Steve is proof that’s it’s never too late for a career change and 3 years after his life changing decision to become an SSI & PADI Scuba Instructor Steve was one of our very highest performers in 2014 certifying over 300 students in just 1 year! Steveo is one of our more popular guys all round. His students think he’s the best & his work colleagues also have high praise for him & his attitude to team work. Never says no to anything he’s asked, pulls his weight & most importantly is not shy at buying a round at the bar.

Phil Smith

A horticulturist by trade, Phil ran his own landscaping business in the Lake District area of the UK! Gave it all up to go traveling the world and ended up here! Oddly enough was nicknamed 'Fishlad' by his mates at school way before he took up Scuba Diving as a career! They reckoned with a nose that big he looked like a sea creature. Should have called him Elephant Seal Phil!  Phil started work here at Big Blue as a Divemaster & last year became a PADI and SSI Instructor as well as one of our Sidemount Instructors. He is very laid back & patient is Phil. Excellent qualities to have as a Scuba Diving Instructor and as an elephant seal.

Read more...

 

30th January 2015sailrock

I can’t believe it is the end of January already, it seems like only yesterday we were celebrating the New Year in! The conditions have cleared up a lot over the past few weeks and we have been able to get out to Sail Rock on our Full Day trips. Sail Rock is probably the best dive site we have in the Gulf of Thailand and we try and get out there as often as we can. The full day trips consist of 3 dives, breakfast, lunch and soft drinks. With huge schools of fish, giant moray eels, macro, and the chance of a passing Whaleshark (sigh) these trips must not be missed while you are in Thailand.

Ever since the documentary Blackfish pulled back the curtain on the lives of captive orcas, SeaWorld has seen some serious backlash. Corporate sponsors such as Hyundai Motor America, Southwest Airlines, and Virgin America have cut ties with the company, many celebrities and condoned the parks actions and have distanced themselves, and attendance is down. The latest people to sever ties with SeaWorld are the Miami Dolphins. Jason Jenkins, Miami Dolphins senior vice president of communications and community affairs, confirmed to that the partnership will end, though he explained it is not an early termination. The contract between the organizations ends in March, and it will not be renewed.

If you have not seen the documentary please have a look and make your own opinion on it, also The Cove is also a very intense film about how dolphins are caught in nets and sold to ‘trainers’, but it is those poor dolphins that do not get picked for be paraded around in aquariums that are needlessly slaughtered instead of being released back into the oceans.

So we introduced you to a few of our instructors the other day, here are a few more:

Denja Steigmeier

Comes from the lucrative world of International Banking, lives on a mountain, stashes dodgy 2nd World War art pieces in her cellar, eats cheese & chocolates, likes snowboarding, yodelling, cuckoo clocks and milking cows! Denja used to work at another dive center here on Koh Tao till we put the word out that we were looking for a hot looking German chick to join the team but as we couldn’t find one had to settle on her. & what a catch! Extremely punctual, very clean and won’t be offended if you can’t say her name right! Another one of our Bikini models Denja is also an experienced SSI and PADI Diving Professional & one of our most popular Instructors having recorded an amazing 50% of her Open Water Students in 2014 stayed on to do their Advanced Course with her. Probably got nothing to do with her teaching, it’s all that Toblerone she gives them!

Sonia Scott

Ex- Great Britain Rugby International & sports physiotherapist, is also our resident Dive Medic & one of our most experienced members of the team. Sonia has worked in Scuba Diving as a Divemaster, a PADI & SSI Instructor, a Dive Medic Technician, a Liveaboard Dive Operations Manager & a Dive Center Manager. She’s certified thousands of novice divers & hundreds of diving professionals. She’s worked for Big Blue Diving in Koh Tao & Big Blue Diving in Khao Lak & she worked at the largest Dive operation on Thailands west coast & also opened their Dive Center in Komodo, Indonesia & is one of the few people in the world who have ever dived across the Equator in complete Open Ocean. … … (sigh) … … … I’ll get my coat.

Ant Edgely

Mini Ant used to be a big shot Architect with many of his fine erections scattered throughout London & was offered a job by one of the UK's largest building firms but turned them down in order to become a Big Blue Diving DMT! Could have been a disastrous decision for Ant but luckily he excelled at his DM Training & went straight on to become an SSI Instructor and was immediately offered a job by another Dive shop on Koh Tao before we told them to bugger off! "He's ours!" Now works as one of our Full Time SSI & PADI Instructor's Ant is still trying to keep his eye in the architectural game & totally designed our Mothership MV Waverunner. A bit of elbow grease here and a bit of imagination there & Ant has gone & created another fine erection!

Matt Waters

Ex Military so exceptionally presentable and will turn up to class punctually and with immaculately clean booties on! Will probably call you sir and end every sentence with the word ‘Rodger’! Matt also worked at a competitive Dive center here on Koh Tao before realizing there’s only 1 shop on Koh Tao really worth working at. When he didn’t get that job he ended up here! A PADI and SSI Instructor Matt is possibly our most recommended Instructor on Trip Advisor. Doesn't mean he's any good. Just means he's on Trip Advisor a lot! Military Matt is an excellent catch for us here at Big Blue, you know just in case we get invaded by ISIS or the Americans!

 

Read more...